Australia - Contamination Update - Small player in big trouble : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Small player in big trouble
Thursday 10 February 2000

The company at the centre of the Romanian tailings dam spill, the Perth-based Esmeralda Exploration, is a small player in the goldmining industry.

The group was valued by the sharemarket yesterday at $10million.

Its shares were suspended yesterday morning once news of the spill broke. Earlier, the share price dived 12 cents, or 37 per cent, to 20 cents.

As small as it is, Esmeralda has a highly qualified board. The chairman and joint managing director, Mr Brett Montgomery, has had more than 18 years in gold mining. The other joint managing director, Mr James David Taylor, was a founding partner in Lycopodium, which has designed and built more than 15 mining projects, including Esmeralda's 50 per cent-owned Baia Mare tailings re-treatment project in north-western Romania.

Baia Mare is Esmeralda's main asset and is a joint venture with Romania's state-owned goldmining organisiation, Remin (45 per cent), and some local private interests (5 per cent). The operating company is Aurul S.A.

Baia Mare is based on the re-treatment of tailings left in ponds by Remin over past decades. It cost about $A45million to build.

The project produced its first gold last year and in the three months to 31December it produced 14,150 ounces. In a year, the operation is expected to re-treat 2.5million tonnes of tailings, using a cyanide gold-recovery process.

Reaching the production stage was not without its problems.

Cold weather and troubles with contractors caused construction delays. Once production started, cold weather caused more problems. In October a tailings disposal pipeline leaked slurry on to farmland, forcing an eight-day shutdown.


Posted for general awareness.
Having come from Europe many years ago I think this contamination ranks as one on the most sad with wide impact.

Take an opportunity to read earlier posts re: this issue. Look for 'zog's' opinion. It makes you think... Link

subnote: West Australian Pilbara iron ore was opened up by the Lang Hancock group with Romanian communists' money and their needs for raw material. Romania & Australia go back a long time.

-- Pieter (, February 09, 2000


Late news just to hand. The mining company denies responsibility for the river pollution and fish kills, claiming something else is causing it on the Hungarian side...;will post developments when available.

-- Pieter (, February 10, 2000.

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